College Essay Citation Examples

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Every college essay requires research, and each item you research must be cited in your essay. A citation is a reference to a published work. Beware – if you do not cite your work, you can face serious punishment for plagiarism, which is copying someone else’s work without giving them credit. There are a few types of citation styles. Make sure you know which style you need to use for your college. Citations must be perfect because nowadays professors have access to online software that can check the originality of your paper.

An increasingly common way to cite resources is from the American Psychological Association and is most commonly referred to as APA. APA is used for term papers, literature reviews, case studies, and many other types of college essays. APA format is used not only for citations, but also to format the body of the paper as well as the title page. APA uses an author-date process for in-text citations. Whenever you use another author’s work, you can use APA to cite the references in-text along with a reference page at the end of your paper.

APA In-text Example 1: According to Kent (2007), the world is not going to end in 2012.

APA In-text Example 2: Buildings are the tallest in New York City (Grand & Long, 1994).

APA also has a very structured reference page. Use the template below to make sure you are formatting your reference page correctly. Make sure to use the hanging indent format.

Author’s Last Name, First Initials. (Year). Title of article all with only the first word capitalized. Name of Journal or Book. Page numbers. Retrieved from: URL of website.

If you are an English major then you are likely to use the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. APA style was traditionally for science papers and MLA for English, although this is rapidly changing. This style is decreasing in popularity but is still used fairly often. A big difference between APA and MLA is that MLA does not use a title page. Instead, the title to your paper goes on the first page of your research paper. Make sure your margins are set for one inch. MLA uses a different process for in-text citations.

MLA In-text Citation Example: “Using MLA format will remind you of your younger days.” (Author Page Number).

The reference page for MLA is called a Works Cited page, and each reference is listed alphabetically by author. These references also use the hanging indent format.

MLA Reference Page Example: Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City: Publisher, Year. Date.

citation examplesThe third format style is the Chicago Manual of Style. This style was commonly used in the Humanities field. This style focuses on the appearance of the paper, and uses footnotes for the citations, so a reference page or in-text citations are rarely used.  The Chicago Style of writing is cleaner, because the text itself is not interrupted by citations.

Chicago Style Footnote Example: Author’s First and Last Name, Title of Book or Article Referenced (City: Publisher, Year), Page Number.

These are just examples of the three main styles used to cite your work. It is important to follow these examples and make sure your citations are just right.

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